Photo credit: Lior Segev, Shatil Stock

Before and after October 7th, the Israeli government remains the same: dysfunctional, corrupt, and deeply uninterested in helping its own citizens. In the weeks since Hamas’s attack, many Israeli families from the south have had to scramble to find a place to put their kids to bed. They have had to figure out how to get food, toiletries, clothes, and basic medical supplies. Earlier this month, we learned that the government unit ostensibly set up to support displaced families and the families of hostages was stalled: no one was appointed to lead it.

NIF’s grantees and other civil society groups have stepped into this gap in a major way, making sure families had beds to sleep in, food on their tables, and medical assistance if they were wounded. NIF and so many of our grantees organized distribution centers for food, outfitted campuses in the north to host evacuated families, and paid for the hotel rooms of over 150 families who the government evacuated to Eilat but offered no place to sleep.

But as needs on the ground change, so do our strategies. After weeks of immediate assistance and humanitarian aid, the next phase of NIF’s safety network focuses on long-term psychological support and assisting individuals and communities in understanding their rights:

  • Families of hostages held in Gaza deserve to have their voices heard. But the government is not listening to them. To help give them a megaphone, we made a grant to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum that helped families of victims attend a demonstration and demand the Israeli government bring ALL the hostages home.
  • Local government should function as a social safety net in times of emergencies. But evacuees from Israel’s south’s basic needs are not being met by the municipalities hosting them. The Shahaf Fund, in coordination with other NGOs and NIF, serve as the liaison between the evacuees and their hosting municipalities, identifying the needs of evacuee communities and advocating for those needs to be met by the municipalities. When the evacuees return to their homes, the Shahaf Fund will help them continue communicating their needs to the local governments in their home communities.
  • The Israeli government is not providing adequate mental health care to survivors of the attacks or families of the hostages, who are reaching out to civil society organizations for help instead. NATAL–National Trauma Vicitms’s hotline has been flooded with requests for mental health assistance since the start of the war. We gave NATAL a grant to help recruit volunteers who can respond to inquiries, train therapists, and help families. They are also building a long-term system that can continue to serve those in need of mental health assistance even after the war ends.